In May 2020 Art Gene launched 8 Words for Barrow-in-Furness, a competition inspired by the appearance of 8 blue billboards at Hollywood Park Roundabout in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria. During the national lockdown all advertisements ceased and the billboards were papered with an aspirational sky blue colour. With the roundabout empty of traffic, anything seemed possible.
In the absence of advertising we invited locals to propose 8 words which could fill the billboards with their own words and thoughts, with the aim of activating and capturing the voices of local people during this ‘unprecedented’ time.
With over 180 entries to the online competition from people of all ages, this socially distanced, outdoor exhibition presents 20 of our favourites as an artist designed installation outside Art Gene HQ.
Entries ranged from the light-hearted and humorous to sincere calls for change in this time of crisis. In addition to featuring in the exhibition,13 prize winners will receive a framed print of their ‘8 Words’ created as a digital artwork.
The exhibition is free to view from the street, open all hours.
The exhibition is part of Art Gene’s ‘Extreme Views’ programme, in partnership with the Islands and Bays of Barrow and Furness Coastal Team, which brings communities and specialists into a conversation about this place through research, engagement and participatory outdoor events.